Thursday, December 16, 2010


I seem to have a lot of disjointed thoughts at the moment, many of which I probably shouldn't share. So, anyway...

We thought we lost the cat yesterday. The first night we had her she pretty much just hid under the treadmill - which we expected. She didn't eat or drink anything. Tuesday night she came out and was pretty playful with us, but she didn't stray too far from either one of us. She was still real wary of being in open space. I suppose living in a small cage for so long will do that to you. She finally nibbled a couple bites of food, but not much. When we went to bed Tuesday night we showed her where we were sleeping, but she soon scampered away. When we got up Wednesday morning we couldn't find her anywhere. We looked in every place we could imagine. Our house isn't that big, and we have the spare bedroom closed off. I looked again at noon and still had no luck. Finally, after Jane got home from work I tilted the clothes dryer back and, sure enough, she had crawled inside the bottom part of the dryer. I finally pulled her out and she took off and hid behind the tv. Jane coaxed her out a little later on and she played with us for quite a bit, and kind of walked around the house some. This morning she was behind the tv again, later moving to under the bed. She apparently ate a few more bites of food during the night. I think she's making progress.

Yesterday I had a conference call with my MLI cohort group. One person doesn't seem to participate in the conference calls (he works a real job, so I understand), and Jim had a funeral to go to so he couldn't talk long. Otherwise everybody was there. We were supposed to talk about our reading assignment - Neil Cole's book 'Organic Leadership.' I guess it was an ok discussion, but I got off the phone and felt pretty discouraged about the whole thing. One guy just said he hadn't read the book, and didn't intend to. I can respect his honesty, but then... I sometimes wonder why people participate in things if they're not going to participate. I don't think they always think through how that effects everyone else. In my opinion, what really makes or breaks things like this is the participation, or partnership, or level of community. But... I know... I'm the difficult one. Anyway, I was pretty discouraged about the whole thing after the call. But it is what it is and I'm sure I'll get over it. My expectations are probably just too high. But it seemed the consensus was that maybe the whole missional thing is just too much, or too radical an idea, for our group. I don't think that at all, and, in fact, I think we're moving way too slow. So... I'm sure it's just me. Whatever.

This morning I went to breakfast with Tom and Steve, and we went to Spyro's in Waynedale. We have decided that rather than just meeting at one another's church each week, maybe we should start getting out in the community. So we are now meeting at different restaurants each Thursday. I like that. But I've got to start limiting myself to smaller breakfasts. I don't need to eat so much. Anyway, we talked about our cohorts, our churches, missional stuff, the book for MLI, a lenten devotional, and tri-county ministries stuff. It was good.

I've been a bit freaked out lately about the thought of taking on a mortgage. Ugh. I hate to even think about it. I am not a money person. I hate thinking about money. It really does just freak me out to even think about having a 30-year loan. Geez, I will be 78 years old then! Nuts. But... I know I need to think about it, and address it, and do something about it eventually. Er...

I have also been stressed about the whole process of moving from the parsonage to owning our own home. I don't know how to go about it. I don't want to take advantage of the church, but I also don't want to be taken advantage of. And I don't really know who to talk to about it, or who even cares. I wish I could get some input. I've tried to ask a few people, but to this point everyone seems to just be kind of... whatever. So... I don't know what to do about that.

I've also been thinking about the whole church planting issue lately too. Not for me to plant a church - but just thinking about church planting in general. I hate the term "church planting." You know, Jane mentioned something about church planting to a non-churched person a couple of weeks ago, and they thought it meant 'buying plants to put in our church.' For real. And that doesn't surprise me at all. What surprises me are the church people who think that's surprising! Church "planting" is a stupid term. I'm sorry, but it is. It means nothing to people who don't know what it means. And supposedly church planting is supposed to be geared for people who don't know what it means (at least to me). I was planning to write another post solely about this, but now it's coming out of my fingers, so... I don't get why most of our church planting people (regionally/denominationally) all seem to be such "churched" people. Make no mistake, most of them are great people, but they are so churched that they don't know how to look at things from a non-churched persons perspective. So in my opinion they are going to have very limited success reaching people for Christ who want nothing to do with our churches as they presently are. Maybe I'm wrong, but this is actually one thing where I think I can contribute. However, no one else seems to think so. I think I've been asked to serve on every stupid commission in our region OTHER THAN the church planting commission. And even though that's the only thing I've ever expressed an interest in, I have never been asked, and it's never even been insinuated that I should have anything to do with that. Honestly, it irritates the snot out of me. So I think I'm probably just a fool and nobody has the guts to tell me that. I dunno. Maybe I should just forget about it and buy a boat or take up golf or something. Argh...

Today I listened to an interview with someone from the No Labels Movement. It's not a political party, but a movement working to get our politicians to put aside the hyper-partisanship that seems to be running rampant in America right now, and actually work for the good of the people. Now THAT is politics I can like. But, again, I probably don't know anything, so... whatever.

Well, I suppose I will go try to find the cat now that my lunch period is about over, then head back to the office and do the usual Thursday afternoon stuff. Get the bulletins ready, do the powerpoint stuff, save the world and all that.

Peace out; and in.


Pastor D said...

I have lived in a parsonage for 28 years and while I don’t have a house payment, I don’t have equity. We’ve made house payments to ourselves so that we can purchase a modest home in retirement or a house if I were to serve another church without a parsonage. Some questions to ask yourself or the church leadership. What to do with the parsonage if you vacate? Have another church worker live there use it as office space? There might be some tax ramifications if the church rents it out. Would the church give you an increase in salary as most pastors in a parsonage are paid about 25% less than those who own a home are. Are you willing to stay in the community? If you were to serve another church, you would have to sell a house. If you live in a parsonage and a call to another parish comes your way you simply pack and move. Witmer-Wood CPA specializes in clergy tax. I’m sure they could walk you through some of the issues for you and church leadership. They are very helpful and look after their pastors.

Jim said...

Sorry I couldn't stay longer on the call. I was very interested in discussing this book. I wasn't with Cole for several things in the first section of the book, but the other sections I found helpful and thought provoking. My biggest concerns were his comments on education. I don't believe that there is one standard for education, but I think Christian leaders should be held accountable to continue to grow in this area as it meets their needs. Not everyone needs an M.Div., but probably should have something. Second, I really tried to follow him on his clergy issues, but struggle here. I still think if Paul said so much about being careful in selecting good leaders - and seems to refer to offices within the local church (elder, deacon, etc) - then maybe we should consider those things. But, as I've said before, I'm too Catholic to be CGGC and too CGGC to be Catholic... The book did stretch me, which it was supposed to do - and I'm still thinking about it, which is probably what was supposed to happen.

dan horwedel said...

Pastor D. - thanks for the thoughts. We actually use Witmer-Wood as well. I hadn't thought about asking for their advice. Thanks!

Jim - no worries on leaving early. I'm sure all of us are going to miss at some point. We could have used your input on the book though. I was not entirely sold on everything either, but like you, it did make me think about a lot of things. And... I doubt that I'm too Catholic for the cggc; but I'm not at all sure I'm really cggc anymore either. Hope you have a good Christmas.